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How do you balance running your household and homeschooling?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Let me preface: I'm the one mainly responsible for running my household. Cleaning. Cooking. Laundry. Taking the kids to activities. Grocery shopping. Errands. I am finding it difficult to find the time to homeschool the way I want to. I'd like to get an hour of work in with my son daily but I am really finding it difficult. I've tried to multi-task--folding laundry while reading, cooking while doing math work. You get my drift . . . but then I feel like I'm doing everything so haphazardly. And then my 2 year old complicates things even more . . .

I guess I'm not looking for advice exactly because it is what it is. I'm just kind of frustrated and wondering if I can realistically do this. (((sigh))) It sometimes feels like one.more.thing on my very long list of things to do.
post #2 of 31
I use the same techniques I learned to use when I was going to school and working, a schedule of set days for everything. I do laundry on Saturday and fold it all at once that evening while my dd watches a movie (she only gets movies on weekends and Wednesdays). I clean the house on Thursday before her piano teacher comes over and do spot cleaning as needed. We go out to eat pizza at a cheap place that serves by the slice then go shopping on Friday with one quick trip in the middle of the week to get fresh fruits and veggies. I also only go all out to cook for dinner. We eat a light breakfast of cereal, yogurt, or banana bread with fruit and milk.

Our lunch is usually some type of sandwich and fruit and veggies. We do all of our schoolwork right after breakfast and are done by lunchtime. I do a blend of practice work that dd can complete on her own and new skills.
post #3 of 31
I cluster things around mealtimes when we are all at the table anyway. By lengthening that time by 15 to 20 minutes (often less for us right now), I can effortlessly get in "school" (I'm mostly an unschooler, anyway) without it bossing my whole day. If we miss a day or a meal here or there, that's okay, we've made up for it in some other way. Meaning, I don't stress about it if we happen to meet at the park for a picnic with someone else. Before (or after) you eat, let your ds read a page to everyone at breakfast. After lunch he can do a math worksheet, and after supper maybe a hand-writing one. Maybe at lunch before you eat, but after the kids have started, you can read a bit from a history book, or show a science movie (I put my laptop on the counter) or some clip from youtube. If you read something just before you eat, it prompts the conversation for the meal, and hey, you're sitting there anyway.

Dh reads to the kids even more at bedtime while I run around the house getting stuff done or goofing around on the internet. He reads the Bible, and from the Childhood of Famous Americans series. Dd is picking up quite a bit of history there, and from their conversations that follow. It bleeds over into things she brings up with me during the day.

Your ds is just a little younger than my dd; have you checked out the kindergarten standards for your state? Then you can have a direction to head with what you do, and you may find that he already knows a good deal of what he'd learn in school. With an August birthday, he could well be considered a kindergartener NEXT year, instead of this fall. I mention that to maybe take some of the pressure off of what you feel like you MUST do with him now. For example, in VA, the children are to learn to count to 10, forward and backward by the end of the year. You can teach that by singing it in the car on the way to wherever.

I find I feel far less scattered, even if I'm just doing bits here and there, if I have a list in my mind of where I'm headed. It's broken down into rough weekly increments, and it sort of guides what I do with my children. Ds is two, and I'm making sure he knows colors and shapes. So, I simply make it a point to show him all the ones I see, and to occasionally, casually, ask him what one is. After a while, when I'm confident he knows them, I'll move on to something else.

In short (sorry I've been so random), I build things into parts of our day that are routine anyway. When I'm actually working, I can't do something else, too, and the needs and demands of my chores are not routine. And my life is very unpredictable. But, we always eat, and the kids have to go to bed, and they have to take a bath. And we spend time in the car. So, I plan things for those times (and those are also times that I am already engaged with them and don't have other things nagging at me.)
post #4 of 31
I don't

I just prioritize the best I can and remind myself I will not have a toddler under feet forever.

For me I feel homeschooling is my most important job, so that is my first focus. I block out mornings for that. Sometimes i can get cleaning done, sometimes our homeschooling just creates a bigger mess. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that, I to am a less then perfect mom, with an often messy house.

oh I just noticed your oldest isn't even kindergarten age yet! Try not to worry until at least November about it. A lot can change in 6mths and a preschooler will learn a ton just from helping you.
heehee editing again: I also noticed your two kids are almost the same age as my youngest two. You can do this! The baby will not be in the "fabulous" toddler stage forever. My youngest is already getting to where she will "work" with us. I almost have her convinced that sitting at the table is better then sitting on it. Don't worry things will fall into place.
I started my K plan for next year and my son should be doing "school" no more then 60 minutes a day, with only about 15-30 (30 would mainly be math teaching +extra games)minutes being formal curricula. Block yourself one hour a day. Spend 15 minutes of that time on one of the three r's. Spend the rest of that time, doing some Fun school stuff. Crafts, motor skills work, FIAR type activities, hands on science, games etc.
post #5 of 31
It isn't easy, but it can be done! I have really struggled with balancing schoolwork and housework in the past. I have tried implementing schedules in the past, but haven't stuck to them. I finally created a schedule that works for us and have forced myself to stay with it. It has only been a few months, but things are so much better than before.

There are a few days during the week that we must be out of the home for various reasons, but our days still follow the same routine.

Breakfast by 8
Everyone dressed by 9
Schoolwork
Snack at 10
Schoolwork
Recess for kids/Chores for Mom at 11
Lunch at 12 and quick (everyone helps) cleanup afterwards
Nap for 3 yo at 1
Schoolwork from 1-3
School is over at 3

If we have to go out, I usually try to plan it during 10-12 or after 3. We might also finish school a little later if we are out in the morning, or even do some work in the evening.

My children help with chores in the evening/weekends and they are always responsible for their rooms, cleaning up their messes, etc. The kids also help with setting the table, unloading the dishwasher, feeding the pets, vacuuming, dusting, things of that nature. They receive a small allowance at the end of each week.
I put a load of laundry in each morning, fold each evening and put away during my chore time each day. Life happens and we aren't always able to keep up with everything, but this is the schedule we return to when things go back to normal.
post #6 of 31
Well, I struggle with this often, too, but here are a few of the things that make a huge difference for me personally:

1. Ruthlessly declutter. The less you own the less you spend time cleaning. And the more clean & spacious & stress-free your home is.

2. Clean the kitchen after dinner. I LOVE waking up to a clean kitchen. It is just so nice to sit down to our homeschooling without the disastrous kitchen distracting me.

3. Homeschool is our priority. I don't get up in the morning & start in on the dishes & laundry & phone calls. I dress everyone, make breakfast, and sit down for schooling. As soon as my one on one schooling time is done, then I get started on the housework.

4. Minimize outside of the house activities. I personally never ever leave my house 2 days in a row unless I can't help it. If I do go out for errands & a library trip one day, then the next day I spend at home re-settling everything.

5. I found that using some kind of curriculum that spells things out for me made a huge difference. I used to just put everything together myself- gathering books from the library, writing my son's math sheets & correcting them myself. Now I don't assign anything that doesn't come with an answer key! lol It's so much easier for me to just open a book & say "today we're doing lesson #22" instead of trying to figure out what to do that day. I used to spend a ton of time trying to figure out what to do that day.

Also, we don't have TV, so that doesn't suck up my time either.

Those are my

post #7 of 31
For me, I find multitasking hinders rather than helps. The kids need my attention when we're learning. If I'm multitasking, getting school done takes a *lot* longer. If I just focus, we're done in a couple of hours and I can get on with whatever else needs to be done.

We don't do a lot of activities. That would probably put me over the edge, actually, so I can understand why you're feeling overwhelmed. What I found is that if I had outside errands more than twice a week, my whole week fell apart. Taking them to the park was fine. But if there was *pressure* for something that had to be done and that happened every day or nearly every day, I was a mess. So I'd combine errands to limit them to twice a week. I also found it helpful to have a (flexible) plan--especially for meals.
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies everyone.

I realized something and that is that unconsciously, I have not been prioritizing homeschooling. It's important to me but I feel that getting the boys out to different libraries and programs is important too. I think I think that I will "get serious" when my eldest is "really" in school but it's strange because I'm uncomfortable being laid back about the whole thing.

So from this conversation I have gathered that when kindergarten "officially" starts, I will have to organize our days differently. DS really works best in the morning so I think I will block off Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday mornings for school work. That's the priority those mornings. We can do playgrounds and museums in the afternoons. Tuesday and Thursday mornings I will devote to activities at libraries and things and do other more laid back activities.

Zjande, I don't want to go curriculum crazy but I find that it suits my personality to have a schedule of some sort in front of me. I have the state standards on hand . . . I think I need to draw up some kind of schedule for myself. It helps me tremendously to see my goals and be able to check them off. LoL . . . and trust me, I'm decluttering queen. But I'm also very anal about dishes piled up, laundry unfolded, etc . . . I just need a neat house to feel relaxed.

Just 1 more, yesterday (Friday) I clustered things around breakfast. Math before. Handwriting after. And it worked out very well. I'm going to stick with that diligently.

You all are a huge resource. Thanks you.
post #9 of 31
My children are given a list of chores that they must complete after schoolwork.

My oldest obviously has the harder ones (put away dishes, fold towels/underwear/socks/blankets/sheets, and clean up whatever mess they made), while my youngest being homeschooled has the easier ones (sweep, clean up after herself, give cats and dog water). Sometimes I will throw some other things onto their list, depending on how behind I am. We have a chore chart along with a homeschool chart.

I see your son will only be 5 this year, but having him help you with chores now is a great way to prepare him for the future, when he must do chores on his own. My children did chores with me until about 5 and then were on their own.

I obviously do the dishes and laundry and such, but their help is wonderful, and it also keeps them from fighting
post #10 of 31
Oh, yeah, I'm all about the chores here, too. I don't really approach it from the "this is your job" angle much because I'm not on top of things enough to be sure it happens every day. But...when people are getting grumpy, I suddenly have lots of things they can "help" do.

In addition to a huge decluttering mission, I completely reorganized our house. It's probably not for everyone, but this way has been absolutely wonderful for me. It saves me SO much time. Firstly, I put all of our clothes, shoes, jackets, etc in the laundry room (dh and I, too). We all even get dressed in there. That means that the clothes, unless we are wearing them, never leave the laundry room. So...that deals with the laundry mess. Clothes come off the kid and right into or beside the hamper. Through the wash, and from the dryer to the shelf, right away. I mean, I might as well...it's right there. It's GREAT.

After we move, the kids will have a sleeping room and a playing room. All the toys, games, books, etc go in one, and only beds blankets, and super special stuff in the other. That really minimizes clean up time, too. Playrooms are for playing in, and bedrooms are for sleeping. Not having to deal with toys all over the house is HUGE.

All of our books go in another place, etc.

The kids can take things to their proper rooms, and because "there is a place for everything" and it's easy to get to, stuff doesn't get out of hand quite so quickly.
post #11 of 31
This is such a great thread!

Thanks to everyone for all the great ideas here.
post #12 of 31
subbing to come back later adn read without help.
post #13 of 31
I definitely prioritize and multi-task. I have two young girls but I still make effort to clean something every day. The important things to me for this daily cleaning are: kitchen, main bathroom and vacuuming (daily with the sweeper and weekly with the big vacuum). I also do dishes by hand once a day.

Multi-tasking is easy...picking stuff up while on the phone or putting dishes away. On my way to another room, picking or straightening along the way.

Our bathroom in our bedroom suffers the most though and the dusting! I try to do a super cleaning of our bathroom 1 -2 times a month with little cleanings in between.

One thing I do, after baths and the towel is ready for the dirty clothes, I wipe the bathroom floor with that towel. The towel is damp from drying the girls off so it's perfect to quickly run across the floor. I also wipe up inside the sink with hand towels ready for the dirty clothes. (I don't leave them on the rack long, I probably change hand towels twice a week to keep them fresh).

ETA: This is in addition to teaching the girls to pick up after themselves too. They are learning to help out as well.
post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just1More View Post
I cluster things around mealtimes when we are all at the table anyway. By lengthening that time by 15 to 20 minutes (often less for us right now), I can effortlessly get in "school" (I'm mostly an unschooler, anyway) without it bossing my whole day.
I've been doing this for the past few days and it has been wonderful. I feel like we're getting so much more done! Thank you.
post #15 of 31
thanks! This is great.
subbing
post #16 of 31
we have a chore chart that we look to after each meal. We've been at it for a couple months and recently increased everyone's responsibilities.

J is nearly 11, G is 8, P is 7 and Z is nearly 4

Quote:
CHORE CHART

After Breakfast

J - Clean BOTH bathrooms (he does one thing per day, like monday windex mirrors and windows, so he isnt doing the WHOLE bathroom every day)
G - Tidy living/dining rooms, vacuum
P - Do dishes, tidy and wipe kitchen counters
Z - Clear table, scrub table
Mommy - Laundry, clean wood work

EVERYONE
*Brush Teeth
*Make Bed
*Get Dressed
*Clean bedroom

After Lunch

J - Tidy living/dining room, clean windows, back door, and TV
G - Do dishes, clear counters, sweep kitchen
P - Clear table, scrub table and chairs
Z - Clear table, scrub walls
Mommy - laundry, clear desks, update school checklist

After Supper

J - do dishes, clear counters, sweep and mop kitchen floor
G - Clear table, scrub table and chairs
P - Tidy living/dining rooms, vacuum
Z - Clear table, scrub walls
Mommy - laundry, clear kitchen hot spot and china hutch

EVERYONE
*Brush Teeth
*Set up Bed
*Get Pajamas on
*Clean bedroom
post #17 of 31
ooooohhh, to have a couple of older ones to help with chores. I cannot wait until that day comes. lol Honestly, dd (4yo) does do some chores but I'm looking forward to bigger things like doing dishes and making dinner. Right now she "helps" me with chores.
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just1More View Post
Oh, yeah, I'm all about the chores here, too. I don't really approach it from the "this is your job" angle much because I'm not on top of things enough to be sure it happens every day. But...when people are getting grumpy, I suddenly have lots of things they can "help" do.

In addition to a huge decluttering mission, I completely reorganized our house. It's probably not for everyone, but this way has been absolutely wonderful for me. It saves me SO much time. Firstly, I put all of our clothes, shoes, jackets, etc in the laundry room (dh and I, too). We all even get dressed in there. That means that the clothes, unless we are wearing them, never leave the laundry room. So...that deals with the laundry mess. Clothes come off the kid and right into or beside the hamper. Through the wash, and from the dryer to the shelf, right away. I mean, I might as well...it's right there. It's GREAT.

After we move, the kids will have a sleeping room and a playing room. All the toys, games, books, etc go in one, and only beds blankets, and super special stuff in the other. That really minimizes clean up time, too. Playrooms are for playing in, and bedrooms are for sleeping. Not having to deal with toys all over the house is HUGE.

All of our books go in another place, etc.

The kids can take things to their proper rooms, and because "there is a place for everything" and it's easy to get to, stuff doesn't get out of hand quite so quickly.
Do you have a huge laundry room? I just don't see this working for us because our laundry room isn't large (it is a room, though). Did you put shelves up to store clothes? We do have a large closet next to our laundry room that could be converted into a family closet, I suppose.
post #19 of 31
My laundry room isn't huge. It's about 6.5' by almost 8 feet.

The first thing was that I realized I was drowning in laundry all the time. So, I paired everyone down to 8 outfits, plus 4 to rotate on Sundays. Sometimes a few more sneak in from gifts, or hand-me-downs or whatever, but basically I try to stick to 8 days worth. 4 pairs of pjs or so. I do have shelves, with baskets on them. The kids each have a vertical row of six baskets (the baskets are 10w x 7.5h x 13d). The top basket has winter stuff (hat, mittens, etc) or summer stuff (swim suit, ball cap, etc) depending on season. The rest of the baskets are:

2. socks and undies
3. pajamas
4. shorts
5. pants
6. shoes

Dh and I each have a small dresser in there. Mine is under the table attached to the wall to fold clothes, and his is next to the washer and dryer. All of the clothes hang, in order by person, above the washer and dryer. My shoes go on top of my dresser (which has another dresser of the same size right beside it for the cloth diapers, btw). I can change the younger two on the table. Everything is within easy reach of the dryer, and I can put almost everything away without taking more than one step. Just past the shelves for the kids' clothes are coat racks, each with 7 (I think) hooks. One is up high for dh and I, and the other is lower for the kids. Sweatshirts, jackets, backpacks, etc all go on that. The kids put their rainboots on the floor under the coat rack.

Extra towels, etc and blankets and sheets go on the shelf above the washer and dryer. I keep 2 towels and 4 washcloths per person, and a few extra handtowels and "junk" towels. Each bed has one spare set of blankets and sheets. (You only have to live through one night of everyone with wet beds before you don't want to skimp in that dept...)

We are moving soon, and our new house has much more room for a laundry room, so we're going to push ahead on our plan for when we had more children. (We're getting there...#4 is coming!). Anyway, dh will build a locker for each person. We'll stick with only keeping out a week's worth of clothes, though. There will be a shelf or two at the top, a hanging bar for clothes, and 3 or 4 shelves on the bottom. Ideally the kids will be able to keep all of their clothes AND have a place to keep their pile of special stuff. Each locker will be about 3' wide, I'm guessing. We'll just line those up side by side in our new laundry room.

Honestly, though, we could easily fit several more people's clothes in our current laundry room.
post #20 of 31
Not very well. Frankly, the house and majority of childcare, it's just way too much for one person, imo. Taking care of the children during the day, providing the kind of lifestyle for the kids that we want for them, and working in a bunch of household things too, that keeps us quite busy. And then there's still a LOT to get done in the evenings too. There aren't enough hours in the day. Someone else has to help out when the kids are young, or else I guess one could go the route of mom not sleeping.
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